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East Glacier Trail

Intermediate

Trail

2.9 mile 4.6 kilometer point to point
81% Runnable
Intermediate

Elevation

Ascent: 644' 196 m
Descent: -641' -195 m
High: 716' 218 m
Low: 86' 26 m

Grade

Avg Grade: 8% (5°)
Max Grade: 38% (21°)

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A wonderful three-mile loop trail in Juneau, AK.

Gary Spargo

Features Birding · Fall Colors · Lake · River/Creek · Views · Waterfall · Wildlife

Runner Notes

Summertime hiking tours occur on this trail, so if you want to avoid slowing down for an opportunity to pass these groups, get started by 9 a.m. or earlier. Also, around lunch time seems to be relatively quiet for group activity.
I rarely see dogs along this trail, which is a big plus. Some visitors and locals alike avoid this trail because of the large number of black bears in the area.

Description

A beautiful loop through young rain forest with approximately 650 ft of elevation gain. Much of this trail was covered by glacial ice 100 years ago, yet vegetation has grown so rapidly that it's mostly a closed canopy already. This feature means less rain and wind to deal with, which is nice during inclement weather.

The trail can be accessed from Mendenhall Glacier parking lot in Juneau, AK. I always run it counterclockwise, starting by the mini lake and finishing by the visitor center. The trail is somewhat rocky in places on the ascent in this direction. The first half is also the wettest, with a lot of hillside drainage during typical rainy weather. However, there is very little mud even in the worst conditions.

Once you reach the top of the long wooden stairs, it 's pretty much all downhill from there. It's really fun to push it to the summit, then quickly catch your breath and fly down the switchbacks. Just be careful not to trip over any of the occasionally protruding rocks. Once you've finished coming down the switchbacks, there is one obvious viewpoint where the glacier can be seen--at least for the time being.

Flora & Fauna

Bear, deer, porcupine. Alder and willow, spruce, and hemlock trees.

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Jun 20, 2017
Allan Schoenberg
2.9mi

Trail Ratings

  4.0 from 6 votes

#5

in Juneau

#7535

Overall
  4.0 from 6 votes
5 Star
33%
4 Star
33%
3 Star
33%
2 Star
0%
1 Star
0%
Trail Rankings

#5

in Juneau

#96

in Alaska

#7,535

Overall
28 Views Last Month
1,137 Since Jan 26, 2017
Intermediate

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Photos

The creek flows rigorously along the East Glacier Trail in Tongass National Forest.
Jan 13, 2017 near Juneau, AK
This is looking up Mendenhall Glacier from the East Glacier Trail in 1980. Mendenhall Glacier has receded about a mile since then.
Jan 13, 2017 near Juneau, AK
Tall firs structure the moss forest along the East Glacier Trail.
Jan 13, 2017 near Juneau, AK
Moss forests (northern rain forest) adorn the East Glacier Trail.
Jan 13, 2017 near Juneau, AK
Beautiful brown mushrooms grow along East Glacier Trail in late August.
Jan 13, 2017 near Juneau, AK
Mendenhall Glacier is stunning from above, as seen from the East Glacier Trail in 1980. Mendenhall Glacier has receded about a mile since then.
Jan 13, 2017 near Juneau, AK

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